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COLUMBIA – For employees who are scrambling for a last-minute Valentine’s gift, Veterans United has come up with a solution.

“We started this program four or five years ago as a way to help very busy employees to take care of their Valentine’s day shopping without having to go somewhere else fighting the crowds,” said August Nelson, director of Veterans United’s People Service.

This Valentine’s Day program is not only going to help the company’s procrastinators, but also serve as a fundraiser to help students at the Douglass High School through Flourish Initiative, a program founded by the Veterans United Foundation.

“They really identified the education as being an area they want to focus on,” said Rae Cooper, one of the board members of Flourish Initiative. “We already have a wonderful partnership with the Douglass High School.”

The principle at Douglass High School, Eryca Neville, was also at the event. She said the fund they were raising Friday is going to Flourish Initiative’s emergency fund, which helps students who need transportation, uniforms, books, and who suffer from food insecurity.

“We can go and help get things that families, within the scope of their small budget, are not able to rightly access,” said Neville.

More than twenty employees were at Veterans United’s John Garry location Friday morning buying gifts for their family, friends, and the significant other.

Chris Cline, Veterans United’s media relation specialist, said there were two trucks that carry all Valentine’s Day goods to the more than 12 VU offices in town.